ACTOR Patrick Stewart is having a tremendous week.
The Mirfield star – who soared to prominence in the TV series Star Trek – has been to the fore as Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield as the annual awards ceremonies began in Huddersfield.
And yesterday he was with partner Lisa Dillon as he scooped the Best Actor award in the prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
He won for his role in Macbeth which switched to the West End.
The award came the day after the former Star Trek actor was in Huddersfield, as chancellor of the town’s university, attending graduation ceremonies.
The production of the Shakespeare play, which transferred from Chichester to London’s Gielgud Theatre, won rave reviews when it opened earlier this year.
Hairspray, which transferred to London’s Shaftesbury Theatre from Broadway, beat Fiddler On The Roof to The Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical.
Anne-Marie Duff won Best Actress for her performance in the title role of Saint Joan at the Olivier in the National Theatre, beating Billie Piper for her starring role in the play Treats.
The Best Design prize went to the production of War Horse, also at the Olivier.
Macbeth was shortlisted in the design category, with the judges saying it “raised goose-pimples with its evocation of a hell’s kitchen experience”.
The awards, voted for by theatre critics, were presented by actor Richard Wilson and attended by stars Dame Eileen Atkins, Sir Ian McKellen, Charles Dance, Richard Griffiths and National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner.
The Evening Standard’s theatre critic Nicholas de Jongh said: “It is fantastic to see such a diversity of work take home awards this year – nowhere else in the English speaking world could you hope to see a radical version of Macbeth, Hairspray and War Horse all in one week.
“There are also encouraging signs, and our shortlist reflects the fact, that the straight play in the West End is not now quite the endangered species we feared in 2006 that it was becoming.”
Stewart, 67, said of his win: “I’ve never even won an award like this, so it’s brilliant.
“It is like a fantasy to be in such a wonderful production with an outstanding company and then to find that we are such a box office hit as well as a critical hit,” he said.
“There’s nothing better than to get out of my car every night and walk past 30, 40, 50 people queuing for returns.”
The actor said of the award: “It’s as important as the Baftas.
“It’s just as important as the Golden Globes.
“The theatre is not a backstreet of the entertainment business.
“It’s in the forefront of the entertainment business.”
He joked of being able to perform his gruelling role: “I live cleanly. I exercise and I eat sensibly and I drink as much champagne as possible.”